Congratulations to the 6 teams who earned a place in the semi-finals for this hockey season. They provided some great excitement and some tense moments for the spectators with well deserved applause at the end.
Under 12 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Geelong 0-2
After a convincing win against Geelong in the last week of the fixtures (which had been an unexpected result following Geelong’s otherwise dominant season), there was a real sense of anticipation heading into the Preliminary Final. Geelong was back at full strength and this showed from the whistle with a strong passage of play resulting in an almost immediate early goal. It was, however, the only time in the game that Geelong demonstrated unmatched passing as for the remainder of the first half, the tightly fought contest we have come to see from the U12 Spirit players was exemplified. Playing in goal and facing a number of strong short corner plays and a stroke, Lachie played an outstanding game. His agility, fearlessness in facing strong hits and his ability to read the play, meant that he ably withstood the Geelong attack. The Geelong players’ frustration at his efforts and those of our fullbacks was clear and they were sent back from the circle time and again with controlled clearances and accurate tackling. As they have done well in the latter part of the season. Ollie A and Basyl combined to provide a strong wall of defence.
Showing the tenacity and courage which has grown over the course of the season, Emma played another strong role in the half line. Geelong’s attacking runs were often broken by her tackles, sometimes against players head and shoulders taller than her. Liam P-H combined well with Emma and Kate in defence and displayed his usual and important speed and skill on the ball. Liam P-H’s ability to draw the player to create opportunities for other team mates and to switch play from one side of the field to the other, allowed for movement to our inners, Brandon, Issy and Gil. This saw increased pressure in front of our goal and there were a number of really close hits, with one rebounding from the post, that could so easily have seen us share 1-1 with Geelong, but not to be.
Continuing with her usual controlled use of the ball and her speed in carrying the ball forward, Matilda played a strong role on the wing and as an inner. She was ably assisted by Bella, who was so close to scoring in the second half, and Grace and Daniel. Grace and Daniel positioned themselves well during attacking short corners looking for the rebound opportunities off the goalie’s pads. Further strong opportunities came through hits on goal by Liam K and Spirit held Geelong to 1-0 deep into the second half until Geelong were able to score again after a series of short corners. Whilst it was a disappointment to leave the field with a 2-0 loss, Spirit should hold their heads up high after an excellent team game. All 14 players under Coach Tom’s direction made an impact on the day. The lessons from this match for the Preliminary Final against Kardinia are to look to move the ball wide, to be available in attack, to follow up if the opposing players get past you, to take free hits early and to force short corners when in the circle so we have our strongest opportunity for scoring. Thank you to the players who were patient with substitutions given we had all 14 players in attendance. Bring your A game for our game against Kardinia bright and early on Saturday.
Under 14 Mixed
Newtown Spirit vs Bellarine 2-1
The two games in this hockey season against Bellarine have both ended in draws so this was poised to be an even contest, but with a definite result one way or another. Bellarine needed to win to progress based on ladder position and were attacking early but Jack did a fantastic job to keep them scoreless. Newtown were eventually able to gain possession and launch their own attacks but the half finished at 0:0 with neither team able to gain any advantage.
It was a positive start to the second half with an attack up the left wing by Brandon, passing off to Charley in field and then to Basyl camped in the D, who was unlucky to have his deft deflection miss the goal. Newtown kept the pressure on and locked the ball in the Bellarine half and produced another multi player attack including Sam, Will and the ever present Basyl in the D, who hit the target this time for a 1:0 lead. A second goal came soon after to Ethan following some scrappy play in front of goal. Loose defence by Newtown allowed Bellarine to claw back one goal with only 5 mins remaining on the clock, and sensing an opportunity to keep their season alive, Bellarine were quickly back on the Newtown D earning two short corners. The Newtown defence was equal to the task and kept the score 2:1 at the final whistle to break the string of draws against Bellarine this season.
Fantastic team effort to make the next finals round, see you all at training on Thursday to prepare for the game against Geelong and an opportunity to the make the grand final.
Under 17 Mixed
Newtown Strikers vs Kardinia 2-2
Newtown Strikers and Kardinia had a re-match of last week’s game in their elimination Final on Saturday. The higher intensity of the game was evident from the start of play, and Kardinia really took the game up to Strikers. Both teams were looking for quick, long passes but many of them didn’t connect, and the best scoring opportunities in the first half came from Penalty Corners, with 3 a-piece, and Kardinia managing to score on their last Penalty Corner to go into the half-time break with a 1-nil lead.
In the second half Strikers levelled after Miles took the ball into attack and passed to Oscar who scored. Oscar followed up with a nice pass to Jack but Kardinia defended, and after a Strikers Penalty corner, Kardinia streamed into attack leaving us short in defence and scored a second goal. Kardinia followed up immediately after with another attack but Luka defended well. With a Preliminary-final berth on the line, Strikers kept cool, and Jack, Sam S and Oscar combined to draw scores level 2-all. With no further scoring, the game went into “Golden Goal” time with 2 7-minute halves. Strikers seemed to have the upper hand with 3 Penalty Corners through the two Sams and Jarret, and Harry also had a few hits on goal but all were defended. With “Golden Goal” time nearly complete, Kardinia drew a Penalty Corner but Strikers held them off. With the final score being 2-all, Strikers progress to next week’s Preliminary-final due to their higher ladder position.
Newtown Spirit vs Torquay 0-2
Newtown Spirit played Torquay in a highly anticipated first semi-final on Saturday 1 September 18. As expected both teams played a tough game, but the attacking play was largely by a full strength Torquay in the first half. Spirit defended strongly with Tom, Oliver and Rachel resolute in blocking, clearing and keeping the Torquay attack at bay. Goalie Max was called upon to keep the ball out multiple times in the first half with some spectacular saves. At half time however, the scores were 1 – 0 Torquay’s way.
The second half saw a more determined Newtown press the attack to Torquay, with a number of good passing attacks executed on each side involving many of the team, notably Miles, Gus and Ben resulting in a number of shots on goal, deflection opportunities, and short corners. However the Torquay defence and goalie played well and Newtown were kept scoreless. Riley made some strong intercepts and Emily had some nice touches on the ball and was well positioned on the post. Torquay maintained their attacking pressure throughout the half, the final score was 2 – 0 to Torquay, setting up a Spirit vs Strikers elimination final next week. Thanks to both of our Harry’s, and Oliver who played up from U14’s and contributed solidly to the Newtown game. Keep up the momentum Spirit!
Division 1 Men
Newtown Falcons vs Geelong 3-4
Unfortunately it was somewhat of a disappointing end to the hockey season with the Falcons losing to Geelong in the Elimination final 4-3. The team was fired up to get a good start and this was achieved with Matt scoring early. Geelong then scored their first goal with some determined play in the goal circle. Matt again stepped up to the plate and delivered a sensational toma into the top right corner pegging back the lead. Unfortunately after this the team seemed to fall into a bit of a lull and Geelong pounced with quick turnovers to open up their forward line. Geelong then scored the next two goals with one just on half time to give them a 3-2 lead.
We re-grouped at half time and the message was to play simple hockey, work the ball around the back and wait for our opportunities to open up space and get the ball forward. We had all the play in the second half and Gus scored a nice goal from a short corner to level 3-3. Unfortunately another quick turn over resulted in Geelong sneaking forward and scoring an opportune goal to put them in front. We pressed really hard in the last 15 minutes and had all the play in our forward half, but even with multiple short corners we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net. I know the players were disappointed with the loss and we certainly had our chances, but that’s hockey!
Thanks to the players for a great season, it was lots of fun and I would like to thank all those that contributed to the Falcons throughout the year.
Division 1 Women
Newtown Falcons vs Saints Black 0-4
First round of playoff activity found Lady Falcons versus Saints. It was back to back weekends of playing them, with the final game of the regular hockey season ending up against them as well. Hoping to come out on the other side of the score board and pull off an upset we came out focused for warm up. There were strong individual performances on every area of the pitch, and the ladies can feel very good about how they played. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t put together a solid enough flow of team play to provide consistent and supported pressure in the Saints backfield. We did create some attack play and earned corners but not enough polish (aka lack of practice) to get conversions to keep us in the game. In my opinion it wasn’t a case of our bad play, just that Saints played a stronger possession and team game, keeping us reactionary.
There are a number of positives to take from the game as we were getting more numbers up the field and not leaving poor Hailey and Erin alone to do it on their own. We created enough opportunities to keep the game close. From start to finish of the season we cut down on the number of penalty corners we gave Saints. Thanks to Jessie J for coming out and being bench coach, it certainly helped and gave us an opportunity to try and change up our tactics to create scores.
Preliminary Finals Next Week
Come out to Stead Park for the Preliminary Finals and cheer on our 4 participating teams.
Saturday September 8
8.30 am – U12 – Newtown Spirit vs Kardinia
9.45 am – U14 – Newtown Spirit vs Geelong
11.00 am – U17 – Newtown Spirit vs Newtown Strikers